For Amazon sellers, road to Europe is via Estonia

For Amazon sellers, road to Europe is via Estonia AHMEDABAD: Less than a year after Oxford dictionary added ‘jugaad’ in its list of words, the technique itself has gone global with several Indian sellers on Amazon platform using Estonia’s e-residency programme to access European markets and Paypal payment system. Estonia launched e-Residency — a government issued digital identity that allows entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to set up and run location-independent business — in 2014.

“As per the latest data, there are close to 1,600 applications from India that has been received so far for e-residency and most of this are IT (technology and block chain/crypto currency companies) and Indian ecommerce sellers,” Riho Kruuv, ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to India, told ET. “Most of these Indian ecommerce companies are sellers on Amazon platform,” he said.

With e-residency in Estonia, Indian ecommerce sellers get access to European markets and they are also able to embed global payment system Paypal for ease of payments and refunds, Kruuv pointed out. Paypal —one of the most preferred payment options used by Europeans — is not directly allowed in India. A few ecommerce sellers that ET spoke with agreed that taking Estonian e-residency is an Indian jugaad technic deployed by Amazon sellers to solve the payment and receipt issues in Europe.

According to online vendors who spoke on condition of anonymity, most ecommerce companies have returns policy in place and thus many a time, in case of returns of goods sold in international markets, refunding becomes a major issue, as it attracts foreign exchange transaction charges. Thus, having a bank account within Europe helps ecommerce sellers to deal with the refunding issue promptly without incurring extra cost.

As on date, the former Soviet country has over 30,000 e-residents from 140 countries, including more than 1,200 Indian citizens. Recently, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani expressed interest in collaborating with Estonia to develop better e-governance solutions for India.